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Bugatti Celebrates The Birthday And Lasting Legacy Of Jean Bugatti


A few days ago, Bugatti celebrated Jean Bugatti’s birthday. The renowned automobile designer and Ettore Bugatti’s son was born on January 15, 1909. His love for engineering brought about the creation of some of the most beautiful and iconic vehicles in history.

In 1936, the Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic was created, and it had an unmistakable silhouette that exudes pure elegance. Over time, it has become one of the most iconic automobiles ever created. The Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic is Jean Bugatti’s brainchild and masterpiece.

Jean Bugatti’s real name is Gianoberto Carlo Rembrandt Ettore Bugatti to honor Ettore Bugatti’s Italian roots. It is where he got his French nickname Jean. At the time of Jean’s birth, Ettore was not yet the automotive legend that he would become. At the time, he was working at Deutz AG, a gas engine company in Cologne, as a head of the production department.

It was during Jean’s childhood that his passion for cars was sparked. Ettore opened his first manufacturing plant in Molsheim in January 1910. Jean spent his early years in the workshop and production facilities of the new company molding him into the man he would become.

He honed his craftsmanship and skill in Molsheim where his talent was given a chance to flourish even as a teenager. Starting from the late 1920s, Jean and Ettore Bugatti worked side by side and they were able to establish the company as one of the most famous brands in the automotive industry. In 1936, even though Jean was only 27, Ettore handed the reigns to Jean, to lead the Bugatti company towards a more successful future.

Type 41 Royale

A Sense of Style

Aside from the most advanced automotive techniques, Jean’s first love was automotive design. He had a gift for form and aesthetics that was simply unmatched. He was able to create timeless automotive design that came to influence the whole industry until now.

At only 21 years old, he designed Bugatti’s first vehicles. In 1926, the largest, most powerful, and most luxurious automobile, the Type 41 Royale, was presented by Ettore Bugatti. It had both an opulent interior and unmatched power. Just two years later, Jean Bugatti came out with the design of the Type 41 Royal Roadster Esders. It was a six-meter long, two-seater convertible automobile designed for textile manufacturer Armand Esders. Its unique elegance still draws admiration and awe until today. Jean Bugatti removed the headlights from the Roadster’s design as Armand Esders stated his desire to drive the vehicle exclusively during the day. This design detail, though it could be considered minor, went a long way in making the car a lot more elegant. Different versions of the Type 46, Type 55, and Aerolithe vehicles were also some of the results of Jean Bugatti’s creative genius.

1936 Type 57 SC Atlantic

Jean’s Magnum Opus

The 1936 Type 57 SC Atlantic was Jean Bugatti’s magnum opus and most famous creation. It’s a coupe with flowing forms with a very distinct riveted fin sitting almost flush to the road. The supercar is the embodiment of the manifesto of the three pillars of Bugatti: speed, luxury, and elegance. Undoubtedly, Jean took extra care with the automobile’s aesthetics.

The model is seen as one of the most exclusive and most valuable sport coupes in the world even today. There were only four Atlantics to ever be made. Two of them have been preserved in their original condition. The second of the four Atlantics was created for Jean himself. It was known as the “La Voiture Noire” in the automotive world. Unfortunately, the mythical automobile was lost since 1938 and was presumed to have been lost in the Second World War. Until today, the disappearance of the second Atlantic is one of the greatest mysteries in the automotive world.

Type 41 Royale Roadster

Sadly, at the young age of 30, Jean Bugatti died in a car accident in Duppigheim on August 11, 1939. During a test drive, not far from the Bugatti factory, Jean was forced to swerve to avoid a cyclist and was fatally injured. At the site of the accident, a small monument was placed in his honor. The legacy that father and son, Ettore and Jean Bugatti, left continues to influence the present and the future of the automotive world.